The Shah Was a Sham

A fake Irani prince leaves Denver victims feeling royally screwed.

"He was crushed," Knowles says. "He said it was one of the hardest things he'd ever done, but that he felt he had to."

"[Tom] said he felt like he'd lost a brother because he liked him so much," Goodfriend says.

Patrik did not make the arrest any easier on Broemmel. As he was being hauled off, he reportedly begged Broemmel to reconsider his action. "Don't do this, Tom," he said. "I thought we were friends."

The elegant LoDo Inn became the pretend prince's rent-free headquarters.Lani Lee's, which sold Patrik thousands of dollars' worth of clothes, is moving on. Dixons became the unofficial office for the Shah wannabe.
Phung Huynh
The elegant LoDo Inn became the pretend prince's rent-free headquarters.Lani Lee's, which sold Patrik thousands of dollars' worth of clothes, is moving on. Dixons became the unofficial office for the Shah wannabe.
Ali Patrik Pahlavi
Ali Patrik Pahlavi

Patrik was taken to jail and charged with theft and defrauding an innkeeper. The Broemmels listed their losses at close to $30,000 -- $21,576 for the hotel room, and $8,000 for the clothes Patrik took from Lani Lee. Prosecutors would not consider adding the amount Broemmel incurred when he closed his inn for a month. The costly computer was his mistake, too, they reckoned.

According to a spokesperson for Lower Downtown District Inc., the LoDo Inn is now up for sale. The asking price is $5 million.

Lani Lee is closing her boutique in Cherry Creek. Although insiders say her shop never took off the way she'd hoped and that she is relocating her business to New York City, they say the Patrik incident was a deciding factor in her departure. It cannot have helped that Patrik ripped her off for an amount in excess of her monthly rent on the pricey space.

Dixons is out close to $2,500, although technically it is Brommel's debt, because Patrik charged his meals to the hotel's account.

Just how many other people Patrik defrauded is unknown. The lawyer who reportedly quit his practice to go to work for Patrik has declined to cooperate with investigators. Another businessman, to whom Patrik wrote a bad check, says he will not prosecute.

Even though Patrik was in jail, he still had a trick or two -- and at least one gullible friend -- up his sleeve. His bail was set at $5,000. He convinced a Fountain woman to post it for him. She is not cooperating with the theft investigation and refused to be interviewed for this article.

But having his bond posted didn't help Patrik much. The Immigration and Naturalization Service stepped in and decided to check out his credentials. According to a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office, Patrik admitted to an INS agent that he had entered the United States illegally, using a forged Belgian passport. He identified the passport photograph and biographical information pertaining to Ali Patrik Pahlavi as himself.

He has been charged with fraud and misuse of visas, permits and other documents, as well as forgery or false use of a passport, each of which carries a possible prison sentence of up to ten years. He also is accused of fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents, which carries a lesser sentence of up to five years in prison.

The entire episode has left people guessing: Who is this guy? Why did he do it? Why did people fall for it?

Steve Roesinger, for one, doesn't blame Broemmel for buying Patrik's story.

"Tom Broemmel was quite a friend to him," Roesinger says. "I don't think he made a silly or stupid decision businesswise. He is not a foolish man, in my view. I observed him running his business, and I think Tom Broemmel is a good businessman. It's just one of those things that happen.

"It's something that could have happened to you or me or to a lot of people. And Tom is a warmhearted guy. He wanted to believe."

What never made sense to Roesinger -- or to others, for that matter -- is why Patrik did what he did. "Why did he put properties under contract? There was never going to be any money, apparently. He had no substance. Why would he ever do that?"

His victims probably shouldn't look to Patrik for answers. He's not saying much these days.

When asked if he's Valliola Gnassemi-Dakdare -- whose fingerprints apparently match his own -- Patrik smiles and shakes his head. "Who is that?" he asks. "I never heard the name. I am Ali Patrik Pahlavi."

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let us know when you write the book because this man is somewhere in méxico doing whatever he wants


A great story on the imposter Ali Patrick Pahlav- a lot is missing I met him in 1992 when he defrauded Society General and Lansana Conteh- I have decided to write a book on him- and know one speaks about the Hundred million Dollars he nearly took from Boeing